Leaders should form ballot question at Tuesday’s meeting
by Mike Parks
INDIAN TRAIL – Voters in Indian Trail may be asked for as much as $8 million this November to help build two parks in the town.
Town leaders are meeting Tuesday night, May 8, to discuss what to ask from voters on the general election ballot. Town Manager Joe Fivas said Indian Trail leaders have been talking about asking for anywhere from $4.5 million – which would likely pay for just one park – or as much as $8 million – which could be used for two new parks.
“The Indian Trail area is underserved for parks and recreation facilities, and the town council thinks that for quality of life issues, to preserve property values, to save gas money for residents and for health that they want to add those amenities within the community,” Fivas said.
The town already has Crossing Paths Park, at 120 Blythe Drive, but the roughly 1-acre lot is mostly for events like movie showings and concerts. Many residents say they travel outside the town for parks, like Colonel Francis Beatty Park or Freedom Park in Mecklenburg County, and town leaders want those families spending their time and money in town instead of out of county.
If leaders decide to move forward with the bond request, it will be the second time in two years they’ve tried to get some cash for parks and recreation. Last year’s bond referendum asking for $4.5 million for a park fell short by 90 votes. The money would have built a park on 51 acres of land, with walking trails, a picnic pavilion, large playground area, athletic fields, dog park and a water feature.
Fivas said it isn’t exactly clear how much taxes would increase for homeowners if a bond is passed. He hopes to have that information soon. For the $4.5 million 2011 parks and recreation bond, the town told homeowners they could expect to see their property tax bill increase by roughly 81 cents per month for a home valued at $100,000. Last year’s street and sidewalk bond, which was for $7 million, was advertised to increase property taxes on a $100,000 home by 97 cents per month.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Fivas says the next step is getting the legal process started on May 22 in order to get the question on the ballot. The town needs to have a question ready to go and to the state by around July 4, Fivas said, in order for it to make the ballot voters will see Nov. 6.
Next the town would work on designs and a plan for the park, or parks, leaders want, depending on how much the bond asks for. There will be public hearings and information sent out to voters shortly after that.
Fivas wants all the park information complete by August so residents can have at least three months to get informed before voting on the bond.
“Before there’s a vote (we want to) get community input and stakeholder input to make sure the council builds the park that the public wants,” Fivas said, adding he’s already started hearing from some residents about what they’d like in a park.
“The more people who call, the better,” he added.
Fivas said people can contact him with their thoughts or concerns regarding the parks bond. Contact Fivas at 704-821-8114 or by email at TownManager@admin.indiantrail.org.